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Water Polo workshop: Planning for Olympic Success
14 June 2015


Water Polo WA, Advanced Core workshop, 14 June 2015, Department of Sport and Recreation

story by Katherine Downie, Paralympic Swimmer


This was an amazing workshop filled with Water Polo players from all ages! It was an Advanced Core workshop that dealt with the expectations, stress and success of professional athletes, goal setting and management.


The players were very attentive and polite towards Amanda and myself and the workshop went very well! We were also very lucky to meet Amanda's guide dog-to-be, (Bonnie) who Amanda will be fostering until she is old enough to become a proper guide dog.


We began by discussing some notable athletes who stood out, for good or bad, at the London Olympics. It was interesting to note that both the bad and good athletes were well known across the players despite them being from different sporting backgrounds. It just shows how universal sporting success really is. Examples were made to showcase what it means to deal with expectation and media influences.


The media part was really relevant to the Water Polo players. Primarily because it's totally ingrained in our society and into these kids from a very young age but also because it's become a gateway to sponsorships and partners for athletes. I used my own organisation, Swimming Australia as an example. SAL (Swimming Australia Limited) have a media exclusion contract and a media liaison to prevent swimmers from getting out of hand or into trouble.


We led on into stress by having a group exercise that required all the players to graph their stress/nervous energy levels before a game. This showcased the diversity of athletes in the room and also helped them to understand how differently they all operate to achieve.


The goal setting was by far my fave activity of the day! It showed the athletes that goals do not only relate to sport but also in education and careers. I'm very glad that Developing Champions workshops educates athletes on the importance of living a balanced lifestyle.


All in all I was impressed by the maturity and the attentiveness of the Water Polo players and I wish them all the very best!


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